Stress & Wellbeing: Life Events


What is a Life Event?

A life event is an event that leads to an objective change in someone’s life, whether that’s in their career, lifestyle, routine or relationships. Some events are normal and expected in terms of life stage, however some are unpleasant and threatening in some way. Life events happening to someone close can also be important if the person is still affected in some way.

Life Events are rated by how negative the event was at the time it occurred. There are various things that can make an event negative such as involving undesirable change or its potential for making a person change the way they view themselves, those close to them, their goals, plans & future, their safety and security, or any other aspect of their life. We are particularly interested in the way most people would view such events, even those that may have a lot of personal aspects.


What is a Difficulty?

Difficulties are problematic, challenging, or stressful situations that last at least 4 weeks. They are likely to be complex (involve a variety of different objective problems). Similar to events, a difficulty occurring to someone else can still be rated if the respondent’s life is severely affected or constrained by the person experiencing the difficulty.

Difficulties can occur on their own without an event, but often an event leads to a difficulty, or is the result of a difficulty, although events can also end a difficulty.